Categories: Adventure, Travel - Tags: farmer's market, HI, Hilo, Laupahoehoe, Tropical Botanical Gardens
Awakened suddenly by my cell phone ringing—naturally all the way aft in our land yacht—I hastily repeated the tuck and roll maneuver to evacuate the loft bunk and achieved the aisle in the main cabin, thence to the galley, unearthing the phone in the (dry) kitchen sink. It was a colleague in California calling to discuss a clinical case we share…of course she hadn’t realized it was dawn in Hawaii, even if it was business hours in California. So, our day began.
But shortly thereafter, the rain abated, the clouds parted and we made haste to return to the volcano to at least tuck in a hike through a lava tube before heading on to Hilo. Well worth the scramble as there was no one else there yet and we had a brief re-birthing experience in our 70s—crawling first down into Pele’s belly in mother earth, then up out the end of the lava tube, emerging into bits of sunlight to stretch and greet the beginning of a great day.
Today is a major farmer’s market day in Hilo, and as a farmer’s market maven trolling for fruits and vegetables the world over, this was a “must not miss” opportunity for me. Wow. The single papaya I might spring for at Whole Foods for $4, here comes by the dozen for that, and in a choice of several varieties. Avocadoes, mangoes, pineapples, tomatoes, all kinds of greens and a plethora of exotica I couldn’t name—all to be had for a song.
Then there was the handsome young lion (stud muffin) deftly wielding a machete on green coconuts, (well, almost deftly, as he did have one well-bandaged finger) providing us with two straws and the delicacy of fresh ice cold coconut water for a buck. (while serenaded by a kid with guitar and major long blonde dreadlocks, just in from a Rainbow Gathering in Puno—remarkably blasé about the guy who OD’d there yesterday, and optimistically hoping to achieve a few bucks to buy diapers and formula for his baby).
“Machete Man” “Hilo Farmer’s Market Bounty”
The rain comes and goes in torrents and sheets, then when it breaks, everyone mobilizes, crosses streets, sets off on errands, etc. until the next bucket dump moves in.
Dodging and weaving our way from the farmer’s market, we found the Lyman Museum and Missionary House (the oldest wood frame house on the island, built in 1839) up a side street. I felt it my touristic duty to drag Jim, whose middle name is Lyman, (even though Lyman was a relative by marriage not blood), insisting that we couldn’t miss it. It turned out that Pele’s wrath behind us, we got lucky—we had a phenomenal docent on a great tour of the Lyman’s missionary headquarters.
We learned tons about the early missionary culture in the islands, not the least of which was that David and Sarah Lyman were incredibly disciplined, well-educated, focused and competent people. David brought with him two degrees, an undergraduate degree from Williams College and a divinity school degree from Yale—he founded and ran the Hilo Christian school and with Sarah, created a small dynasty of Lymans who, if they survived into adulthood, became doctors, lawyers, business and civic leaders, furniture makers, and teachers. Sarah home schooled their nine children, made all their clothes, taught herself piano and flute, kept detailed journals of the natural world and her own experiences as a missionary wife and hosted innumerable supper parties and parlor concerts in their gracious home. Very impressive.